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Fitzcarraldo (1982)

The story of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an extremely determined man who intends to build an opera house in the middle of a jungle.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Miguel Ángel Fuentes ...
Paul Hittscher ...
Captain (Orinoco Paul)
Huerequeque Enrique Bohorquez ...
Huerequeque (The Cook) (as Huerequeque Enrique Bohórquez)
Grande Otelo ...
Station master (as Grande Othelo)
...
Opera Manager
David Pérez Espinosa ...
Chief of Campa Indians
Milton Nascimento ...
Black Man At Opera House
Ruy Polanah ...
Rubber Baron
Salvador Godínez ...
Old Missionary
Dieter Milz ...
Young Missionary
William Rose ...
Notary (as Bill Rose)
Leoncio Bueno
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Storyline

Fitzcarraldo is an obsessed opera lover who wants to build an opera in the jungle. To accomplish this he first has to make a fortune in the rubber business, and his cunning plan involves hauling an enormous river boat across a small mountain with aid from the local Indians. Written by Rune Sandnes <rune@nvg.unit.no>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

10 October 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fickaraldo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Goofs

When the two crew members fight with each other, the shadow of the camera is visible on the left one. See more »

Quotes

Don Aquilino: Ladies and gentlemen, don't worry. This gentleman is harmless. He's just had a, a soul-stirring experience.
Rubber Baron: Sir. My servants will conduct you to the kitchen. My dogs' cook will prepare you a meal. Thank you very much, sir. You were superb.
Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald - 'Fitzcarraldo': To your dogs' cook.
[downs champagne glass]
Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald - 'Fitzcarraldo': To Verdi.
[downs champagne glass]
Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald - 'Fitzcarraldo': To Rossini.
[downs champagne glass]
Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald - 'Fitzcarraldo': To Caruso.
[downs champagne glass]
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Daphnis et Chloë
by Maurice Ravel
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Audacious and imperfect, unique and disappointing
22 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Fitzcarraldo (1982)

The plot, and the necessary parallel in making the movie, is audacious, and the end is a quiet, satisfying thrill. That, and the intense performance by the lead, Klaus Kinski, is what keeps people watching this movie, which is utterly unique.

But Fitzcarraldo is not especially lyrical, original, well-written, or well-acted. It has not worn well. I first saw it sometime in the 1980s and it was somehow mesmerizing, if imperfect. The whole exotic flavor of Peru and these foreigners acting exceedingly foreign was based on a dreamy idea that high culture (opera) can and should rise above all else. It was a triumph of the spirit of the individual. Twenty years later that is tempered by the absolute imperialism, bombast, blindness, and idiocy of it all. No longer swayed by the aura of the plot, the flaws in the way the film was made jump out.

For starters, the language. To have some native Spanish speakers talking in German and others, with haphazardness, speaking Spanish or some indigenous language, is inconsistent. Not that they should speak English, no way, but either have them seem to be natives with a knowledge of German, or just use subtitles. Further worrisome are the stereotypes, the "types" of people cast as the cook, his lovers, the captain, the natives, and so on, many of whom do not really act so much as play out their cardboard expectations.

The camera-work is interesting because it is not notable--and maybe this is intentional, because too much lyricism would distract from the facts. But the facts, you notice, are not really convincing. We have a fictional movie no matter how painstaking the famous scenes with the boat toward the end. It falters too often into cliché and, actually, mediocrity (I see this even in the last scene, the crowd on the shore, there they are, nothing more is said).

Maybe I take it to literally, and I should blur out the details. Because as a metaphor of possibility, and of the huge price you have to pay to succeed, or to fail beautifully, it still holds up. In some weird way, because it dared to be different, the movie is still remarkable. But something different than I once thought.


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